The Untold History of the Biden Family

Relatively little has been known about the President’s father, whose story reveals a family’s fraught relationship with money, class, and alcohol.

“All children are shaped by their parents,” Adam Entous writes—and President Joe Biden is no exception. In this week’s issue of The New Yorker, Entous delves into the untold family history of the man who has cast himself as Middle-Class Joe and who has long considered alcoholism “a kind of family curse.” Entous separates Biden family lore from the truth, and details how Biden’s father became entangled in a series of ambitious war-contracting ventures that resulted in enormous wealth, but later were mired in losses and lawsuits. In piecing together the “complete story of the Bidens’ financial rise and collapse,” Entous examines government records, speaks with Biden’s siblings, and manages to track down members of the extended family, one of whom tells Entous that he was the first reporter to contact him about the Bidens: “They just want to forget everything.” As Entous writes, “Family stories get passed down from one generation to the next, like a game of telephone. Over time, the narrative is refined: heroes are made, shameful details are edited out, fables become facts.” –The New Yorker Newsletter Read the story…